The Untouchable Is Made Touchable

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist on Wednesday, February 22 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401

matthew_8_1t3_the_untouchable_becomes_touchableMatthew 8:1-4 (KJV) When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

The multitudes followed Jesus, but the multitudes did not impress Jesus. Jesus had just finished His Sermon on the Mount and those disciples closest to Him heard His teachings. But the multitudes followed Jesus not for what what He taught, but for what He could give. The Bible says that:

Matthew 8:16-17 (KJV) When the even was come, they {the multitudes} brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: 17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by {Isaiah} the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.

Matthew quotes Isaiah 53:4 which says “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”. The Messiah would come healing the people, lifting our burdens. But many came to Christ not to worship Him nor to honor Him as Messiah, but to get temporal healing.

The multitude wanted the services of the Great Physician
but did not want to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

We will see two people today who came to Christ for healing, but who honored Him as Messiah. These two people were considered among the Jewish people to be hated, untouchables, people unworthy of God’s attention. But Christ touched them, just as He will touch all who come unto Him by faith.

The Leper Was Untouchable

Matthew 8:1-2 (KJV) When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshiped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

Matthew doesn’t say “BEHOLD, MULTITUDES followed Him”.

There are many who profess to follow Jesus with the crowd. That doesn’t amaze God. When it is fashionable to follow Jesus many will. But Matthew said “BEHOLD, there came a LEPER”. Think about this Leper. The multitudes ran after Jesus, many taking their friends and family to be healed.

  • The Leper Came Of Himself. He is an unnamed person. Many of those led to Jesus had loved ones who took them, but this person has no one. There was no friendly hand to guide him. I remember reading in the Gospels of a man who was so sick that his four friends took him to the roof of a house where Jesus was teaching, who cut a hole in the room, then lowered their friend down by ropes to be before Jesus.

This man had no one. His disease was hideous. Leprosy is so contagious that the Law of God strictly addressed it. If a person thought he was infected he was to go to the priest who would diagnose it. If the person was found to be infected …

the leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. (Leviticus 13:45-46).

There was no known cure for leprosy outside of that of God. People believed that God inflicted leprosy on people as a punishment for sin. In fact, the leper was synonymous with the sinner. Lepers were cast out of the community, a people apart. They were untouchable, despised.

There were sixty one ways that you could be defiled according to the Law of God. The first way was to touch a dead body. The second was to touch a leper!

The Leper couldn’t come within 6 feet of any other human, nor within 150 feet if the wind was blowing. What a terrible thing leprosy is. But we read:

behold, there came a leper and WORSHIPED him

Jesus Loves The Untouchable

If you feel alone and despised, if you feel that the world itself has turned against you, Jesus still loves you. This leper knew how bad his condition was. He knew that he was untouchable. The leper made no excuses. He did not seek to justify himself. He knew what he was, and ran to the love of Christ.

He had probably lost his family, his friends, his fortune, everything he had because of this terrible disease. There are multitudes there following after Jesus but not one person will take his hand, not one person will reach out to him …. but Jesus will.

The leper comes to Jesus and before he asks anything he WORSHIPS Jesus.
This is where the blessing begins. Jesus is Lord. He is God.

John 1:1-4 (KJV)  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  [2]  The same was in the beginning with God.  [3]  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  [4]  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

The leper came to Jesus and worshiped Him. He didn’t debate Christ. He didn’t try to make a deal with Christ. “Jesus, if you’ll heal me I’ll do this or that”. No, the leper came submitted to Christ.

He worshiped Him.

The things he used to worship he now puts away. The idols, the gods, the self image, everything he submits. He is not ashamed for the crowd to see him worship Jesus. Others have given him up as hopeless. No others care for him. But Jesus cares.

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true.
I would tell you how He changed my life completely;
He did something no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There’s no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me;
O how much He cares for me!

All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me;
All my heart was full of misery and woe,
Jesus placed His strong arms about me
And He led me in the way I ought to go.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There’s no other friend so kind as He.
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me;
O how much He cares for me!

I think that the BEHOLD is not because an untouchable came, but that God wants you to see the love of Christ. Jesus loves the unlovable. He loves the submitted. He loves us even when we are diseased by sin.

We as God’s Church are supposed to be reaching out and telling the untouchables about Jesus, but so often we are like the multitudes who followed Christ. We believe. We see others in need. But we do not reach out. Oh, that we would reach out! Oh, that we would be the hands and feet of Christ.

  • We’ve Never Done It That Way Before! I’ve heard these words before, and they are like icy water on the fire of faith. This Leper had no precedent set before him. If you read Matthew to this chapter you will see that no leper ever went to Jesus at this point in His ministry. There was no precedent to encourage him. This was the first Leper of Christ’s ministry, and he went to the Savior just as a moth would be guided to the Light.
  • I’ll Go To Jesus When I’m Worthy! I have heard so many people say this, and lose the blessing that only Christ can give. If this leper had waited until he was “worthy” he would never have been healed. Toward the end of His ministry the Pharisees and Scribes bitterly complained about Jesus, saying ….

Luke 15:2 (ESV) … “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus receives sinners, sinners of all types.

When despair whispered in his ear “Give up, you are nothing but disease” it was the Holy Spirit through faith who shined through the Leper’s darkness, saying “Go to Jesus. He receives sinners. He will receive you!”.

No matter what your sin Jesus will save you. He will forgive you. He will cleanse you. He will make you right with God. Run to Him, Beloved ones, and let Him prove His love to you!

  • This Man Had No Specific Promise That Christ Would Heal Him. There is no place in Scripture that says

Come unto Me, all you who are lepers, and I will heal you”.

Yet the Leper worshiped Jesus, saying:

Matthew 8:2 (KJV) … Lord, if THOU wilt, THOU canst make me clean.

The Leper had no specific promise, but he knew Christ is “Lord”. Nothing hindered the Lord from healing this man but the WILL of the Lord. This man had faith in Jesus. He believed that He is Lord! And believing this, he cast himself on the mercy seat of Christ. Lord, if You will You can!”. God has promised throughout His Word to bless those who come unto Him in faith. He has said:

Isaiah 55:7 (ESV) … let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

This leper saw God in Christ and cast himself upon Him. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31). This man put away everything but Christ. His entire hope was in Christ. It was not Christ PLUS this or that, but Christ Alone.

Only Jesus can make that which is filthy clean. And Jesus has said “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). He that believes is born again. He that believes is the called of God.

  • The Leper Was Focused On His Own Life, Not On The Multitudes. Many will go to hell because they will not go to the Master. Why? Because they fear what others will think or say. “What will the crowd think if I walk to Jesus? If I stand apart from the multitudes? If I go up and take the Preacher’s hand?” There were multitudes there, but the leper cared not for the multitudes.

It is the MULTITUDES that will stand before Christ to be judged.
You will not be judged BY the multitudes.
But by Christ.

This man put aside all pride, and cast himself before Jesus saying “Lord, if You will, You can heal me!” He didn’t say “You can heal LEPERS” but “You can heal ME”. That was his focus, and that should be your focus too. He submitted himself in joyful hope. His words were his own. His humiliation his own. He cast all that he was before Jesus, trusting Him to do the right thing.

  • The Leper’s Faith Was Rewarded. The Bible tells us:

Romans 10:11-13 (NKJV) For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God rewards faith. We read:

Matthew 8:3 (KJV) And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And IMMEDIATELY his leprosy was cleansed.

Notice The Order Of What Jesus Did

First, He put forth His hand, and touched him.

Though the Law said “touch not the unclean thing” Jesus, the Fulfiller of the Law, reached out to touch this man. No one touched lepers. This man had not felt a kind touch probably in years. Lepers had things thrown at them, but Jesus was moved with compassion.

Second, Jesus said “I will”.

Jesus has never said no to a seeking soul. He has never said “I will not” to those in need. He loved the man, just as He loves you and I. The Bible says that:

Romans 2:6-11 (ESV) {God} will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11For God shows no partiality.

The greatest good is to bring your broken self to Jesus and let Him heal you. He will not turn any away. When this man came to Christ, the Lord touched Him, said “I will” then commanded “Be thou clean”.

The Leper Became Clean IMMEDIATELY

When Jesus pronounced him clean he was immediately clean. The leprosy left immediately.

Oh, there are those who believe that Christ will save you IN your sins.

That you can come to Him a sexual deviate, a murderer, a liar, a thief, and that He will save you so you can go on and continue unabated in your sins.

This is not so.

Those whom Jesus touches become IMMEDIATELY CLEAN.

Whereas you were once a sinner, now you are a son.
Whereas once you were a convict, now you are a child of God.
Now listen – those made clean DO NOT BECOME SINLESS,
but they DO BECOME OBEDIENT.
All are sinners because of this flesh.
But those who are born into the Family of God now love God and love one another.
We become obedient to God’s Word.
We become members of the Family of God’s Kingdom!

Jesus did not come to this earth to put a bandage on our boo boos. He came to this earth to bring us into the Kingdom of God. As soon as the leper was healed Jesus began to command him:

Matthew 8:4 (KJV) And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

This man was a Jew. Jesus told him as a Jew to go to the Temple, and show himself to the priest. Don’t stop along the way, but do as God’s Word commands. Take your clean body to the priest so you can be pronounced whole, and offer a love gift to God. There was still a Temple, still a Priest, and still a Biblical Law that had to be met. Once Christ died the Bible says:

Romans 10:4 (ESV) Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.

Galatians 2:16-19 (KJV)  Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.  [17]  But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.  [18]  For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.  [19]  For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

Jesus commanded this man to go and do as the Law said, to offer an animal sacrifice, to have the priest declare him clean. This is what the leper did as far as we know.

Today we who have believed in Christ are freed from the leprosy of sin. We are freed to serve God. We are commanded by Christ our High Priest to serve God. Those who are born again obey Christ and God’s Word. Freed from the Law we do not become lawless, but serve the higher law of walking in the Spirit of God.

The untouchables become touchable by faith in Christ. May God touch your hearts today!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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